The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Regents shown potential floor plans


December 15, 2019

PORTALES — After more than a year of planning, Eastern New Mexico University Regent Terry Othick said building a new presidential residence is a battle of expectation versus reality.

Reality is up by a few touchdowns.

Othick shared some potential floor plans for a new residence to replace the current university house at Cherry Street, a short walk from Greyhound Arena, at Friday’s regent meeting.

Plans are to build a new 3,500-square-foot structure and keep the current house standing for other possible uses.

The housing committee, which includes Regents Othick and Dan Patterson, has worked with an architect, but told it to hold off work in mid-November so it could talk with contractors on price estimates.

“We’re not asking for a bid,” Othick said, “but (we’re asking) what kind of square footage cost are you seeing?”

The college has $900,000 to work with on the house — $650,000 from the state Legislature, and $250,000 from the ENMU Foundation. The foundation award is to only go toward the public space for events, and the regents indicated when it accepted the award that any unspent portion would go back to the foundation.

Othick said he has had concerns over construction costs, because of the rising prices in materials and the requirement to pay the prevailing state wage that adds around 15% to the price. Also, he said, the kind of competition that lowers construction prices isn’t as prevalent in college construction.

“Welcome to our world and what we deal with every day on projects,” Ruidoso branch President Ryan Carstens said, with just enough inflection to indicate jest. “We appreciate the empathy we now have for future projects.”

Patterson, echoing concerns from Othick, said planning a house is more difficult to do as a committee that won’t live there than a family building it for private purposes. He spoke in favor of a floor plan Othick showed that had a V-shape with the private residence on the south end and a public area on the north end with a kitchen area where the two components meet.

“I don’t agree with all of it,” Patterson said, “but I think it is a pretty good idea overall.”

The house dedicates about 2,000 of the square footage to the private living area.

Othick said he is likely to ask legislators if the award criteria for the $600,000 could be amended to cover either new construction or renovation, instead of its current status as new construction only. It’s his understanding that could be changed without much argument, and would give the university more options.

Vice President of Business Affairs Scott Smart asked if it would be possible to build a standalone private residence and renovate the current residence to be the public area. Othick said that was certainly a consideration.

The university still has three years to use the state award. Patterson asked if there were any concerns changing the wording of the award would make it vulnerable to the state eliminating it. Smart said he didn’t see a scenario where an award from Senate Minority Leader Stuart Ingle, R-Portales, would be reversed.


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